Case Study: Director/Producer Russ Jenisch At Top of His Game With Grass Valley’s K2 Dyno
Anyone working in live production is fully aware of the growing complexities of the medium, which puts better performance and more flexible system configuration at the core of today’s live production solutions. This is especially true in live sports, as it is one of the last forms of television consumed almost exclusively in real time. Therefore, live sports content must be highly compelling.
Take this year’s Super Bowl XLVIII, which was broadcast by FOX Sports. According to a report published in the International Business Times, the Super Bowl was watched by an average of 111.3 million people, with a peak audience of 117.7 million people in the final 30 minutes of the game. To engage viewers and keep things interesting for fans, instant replays and highlight packages throughout the game were a necessary and important element. Nobody understands this better than Russ Jenisch, a freelance director and producer for high-profile professional sports teams such as the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals.
Harnessing the Power of Grass Valley’s K2 Dyno
Jenisch has worked as a live sports director and producer for more than 20 years. He directs in-stadium coverage of the Cleveland Browns for the venue’s video displays, and produces and coordinates pre-season television coverage for the Cincinnati Bengals. He also works as a producer/director for other high-profile sports broadcasters including FOX Sports, Big Ten Network, and ESPN. Jenisch has directed and produced live sports productions from within facilities across the United States, as well as from production trucks.
For in-stadium coverage of the Browns, Jenisch relies on Grass Valley’s K2 Dyno Replay System to create exciting highlights and replays. “We use two K2 Dyno systems — one is configured in the standard 4 in/2 out mode while the other is used in a 6 in/1 out configuration, so it totals 10 inputs and 3 outputs,” says Jenisch. “We also use a K2 Solo media server for playback of situation graphics and animations, such as the first down or any turnovers during the game.” Jenisch also uses the K2 Dyno in a mobile environment at Kent State Sports Network and CVM Productions, both of which designate K2 Dyno as their main replay system.
K2 Dyno is a comprehensive replay system, with its intuitive touchscreen interface and K2 media server infrastructure. Jenisch gets a great bang for his buck with K2 Dyno — using the system not just for replays, but also ingest, editing, and clip store. “K2 Dyno is fast, instinctive, and I can perform a lot of different functions with it,” says Jenisch. “For pre-season coverage of the Bengals games, I take footage from the week and capture the sound bites, and then ‘clean’ the front and back ends in a playlist for playback during the telecast. I also put together my spot reel by assembling the commercials in a K2 Dyno playlist and add slates between the spots, which allows me to have a completed reel before entering the truck. This is a really streamlined way of doing things, and it saves me quite a bit of time.”
Another key feature that Jenisch favors is the freedom to take footage from a telecast and transfer it to his editing platform without having to purchase additional licenses or software. “One week I was producing a football game and directing another, and both teams played the same opponent,” he says. “So I was able to take highlight clips from the K2 Dyno after the first game and deliver the files on an external drive to my producer for the next game. Then I was able to create player highlights and other features simply by importing the files into my existing editing system.”
With K2 Dyno, Jenisch can also play back playlists on one channel, with transitions, and without the need for a second channel. He also names and rates highlights, which he says is not only helpful in a post- production environment, but all around because it lets the operator locate highlights to assemble playlists quickly. “In the past, my staff and I spent too much time appropriating clips,” says Jenisch. “With K2 Dyno, clips can be automatically placed in specially created bins or folders once the operator has added naming, tagging, or rating information. It’s a great feature and really helps my staff stay organized.”
Over the years, Jenisch has used other replay systems and says the K2 Dyno stands apart as the leader in its class. “While some replay systems are built to a price point, K2 Dyno is built to a cost-effective feature set,” he comments. Venues also benefit from the K2 Dyno’s intuitiveness, Jenisch says, because they can keep footage in a digital form from pre-production all the way through post-production. “Files can be easily managed, and with the appropriate forethought, highlights can be archived and accessed very easily without having to use special drives or software.”